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Published on: Feb 24, 2021

Penn State students, faculty and staff are reminded that numerous tools are available to help avoid “Zoom-bombing” — a type of online harassment where an individual hijacks a video conference to wreak havoc, such as using the screen-sharing function to show offensive or malicious content, or spouting hateful or threatening language.

University officials emphasize that any incidents of Zoom-bombing should be reported to University Police immediately, and that offenders could face charges for unlawful use of a computer, harassment and disorderly conduct, among other charges. In addition, Penn State Counseling and Psychological Services is available to help support students who may be impacted by Zoom-bombings at virtual events.

In May 2020, Penn State updated the default settings on Zoom to help mitigate security threats and reduce Zoom-bombings. To help avoid Zoom-bombing, individuals should not share meeting passwords or change default settings. Additionally, to discourage unwanted guests from joining a Zoom meeting, it is strongly recommended that individuals do not post meeting links on social media platforms and other online sites.    

A list of tips and settings to help prevent unwanted actions by participants is available, and includes actions to help prevent unwanted participants, such as:  

  • Controlling how participants can enter the meeting; 
  • Allowing only authenticated users to join;  
  • Limiting screen sharing; and  
  • Recording the meeting.  

The University also has provided guidance to all faculty and instructors on how to handle disruptions in remote classes at its Remote Teaching website. Tech TAs are available to assist faculty, and Tech Tutors also are offering one-on-one consultations to provide additional technical support for staff and students. Meanwhile, the University said it is exploring the potential for additional steps it can take to help secure zoom meetings.

For more information, check out the following Knowledge Base articles: 

Questions also can be answered by contacting the IT Service Desk or by calling 814-865-HELP.

News Topics: Zoom